Watering is one of the most important gardening tasks!
And one of the best ways to manage your watering is to zone your garden according to watering needs – known as hydrozoning. This way you are saving water by watering only as is needed, avoiding over watering and under watering.
What is Hydrozoning:
Essentially you need to plant your plants with similar water needs in the same area:
- High water usage plants, such as annuals (your seasonal seedlings) and herbs and veggies, should be planted together and preferably in containers. These plants need frequent watering.
- Medium water usage plants such as palms, roses and many garden favourites like Argyrantheumums, need to be watered about 2-3 times a week (depending on specific conditions) and should be planted in the same space.
- Low water usage plants will generally thrive on rainfall alone and only require very little watering from you during the drier months. Many indigenous plants and succulents, such as Echeverias, Aloes, Clivias, Agapanthus and Strelitzias, are low water usage and you should plant as many of these options as possible around your garden.
- No water usage areas make use of hard landscaping and you should consider incorporating variations of paving, stones and pebbles, artificial lawn and gravel in underutilised spaces in and around your garden.
Hydrozoning is an especially relevant concept when it comes to irrigation. Integrating irrigation systems into your garden is optimised when you tailor the type of irrigation to the group of plants that you want to irrigate. You can also use numerous types of irrigation to suit the needs of your different groups of place, blending drip irrigation, sprinkler systems and timers.
According to Rand Water, hydrozoning can result in water savings of between 30% and 80%!
When to Water:
In Winter is important to consider the time of day that you water your plants, as your watering practices can be impacted by the cold weather which in turn can negatively affect your plants.
Generally in Winter watering in the morning is the best option, as this allows your plants to dry out during the day before frost develops.
Knowing when your plants need water can be a difficult task for many gardeners, new and experienced alike.
An easy tip to help you determine when your plants need to be watered is to scratch the soil around your plant, about 1cm deep with your finger and feel for moisture. If the soil feels moist, the plant is probably fine and you can leave it for another day or so before watering. If you feel the soil and it is dry then your plant needs to be watered.